4 factors that Contribute to Employees Well-Being in an Office

by Everyday on June 7, 2011

Employee well-being is a key aspect to creating a productive workplace. Did you know that hiring a new employee can cost a company thousands of dollars? Improving employee well-being creates happier and healthier employees who are more likely to want to remain with the company. If you want to save your business money, it makes sense to focus on employee well-being.

One important aspect of employee well-being is the physical environment. Studies have shown that the physical environment of the office building, as well as the employee’s own workspace, can directly affect employee well-being. If the physical environment is uncomfortable, cramped, or difficult to move around in, employee well-being will suffer. On the other hand, if the physical environment is inviting, spacious and easy to move around in, employee well-being will improve.

Employees Well Being 4 factors that Contribute to Employees Well Being in an Office

Office managers who focus on improving the physical environment of the office space report that employee well-being can dramatically shift for the better. Here are a few importantfactorsto consider when planning a healthy physical environment to improve employee well-being.

Fresh Air. Employee well-being sufferswhen employees have to breathe stale air all day long. Many office environments do not allowwindows to be opened. While this makes sense from one point of view, it also meansthat employees are not being exposed to fresh air on a regular basis. Make sure that you encourage your employees to stand up and walk outside to get some fresh air. Paradoxically, smokers in the office may actually suffer less from lack of fresh air, since they periodically go outside to smoke. Non-smokers should remind themselves to get fresh air, either by setting an alarm or by rewarding themselves after finishing a specific task.

Natural Light. While it may not be possible to seat every employee across from or next to their own window, all employees should at least have a view of a window. They should be able to see natural daylight and preferably a pleasant view (although this depends on the office location). Employee well-being can plummet when employees work in artificial light with no access to windows.Even worse iswhen the lighting is inadequate and employees have to strain their eyes to see their work.

Privacy. Nobody likesto feel they are being watched all the time. Employees who sit too close to others complain that they feel cramped. Employees should be able to have a conversation on the phone in a normal voice without feeling as though everyone is listening to them. They should also be able to work on their computers in privacy. A sense of privacy helps employees maintain their dignity and relax. This is extremely important to employee well-being.

Personal Control. Many offices have stringent rules regarding the types of items employees may and may not place on their desks. While employees should be discouraged from cluttering up their workspace or placing inappropriate items in public view, complete lack of control overthe environment can have a negative effect on employee well-being.

People who are not allowed to personalize their workspace tend to feel less relaxed and to express less loyalty to their employer. These four factors all contribute to employee well-being. If you are in charge of implementing physical changes in your workplace, start by focusing on what you can change right away. For example, if your office space is dark and cramped, you can at least put up attractive dividers between desks to create privacy, and you can use full-spectrum light bulbs to simulate natural light.

You can also put some potted plants around the office. Make sure that you track employee well-being before and after you make any changes. Sometimes, employers are reluctant to set aside funding for physical changes in the office if they are unconvinced that employee well-being will actually be improved. Bytrackingthe improvementsin employee well-being, you can lay the ground for more costly improvements in the future.

If you address all of the four factors mentioned above, you should see concrete evidence of improved employee well-being in the following areas:

Greater overall job satisfaction;

Fewer employees calling in sick;

Less on-the-job stress;

A boost in productivity;

A reduction in staff turnover;

Higher commitment to the company.

Employee well-being is not just another buzzword. Improving the physical environment where your employeeswork is a smart business move that will benefit your bottom line. If you want happy, healthy employees who are loyal to the company and are consistently productive, focus on improving employee well-being through a positive physical environment.

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